Offline Hootie

  • Written Word Wrangler
  • Dedicated Contributor
  • ******
  • Posts: 1190
  • Karma: 43
  • Just another day gardening in the heat of texas
    • Frozen Gardener
The Survival Podcast

DATE:         February 15, 2012



Steven Harris returns to TSP for his 6th visit.  Today he joins us to discuss various alternative energy technologies including, solar, wind, biofuel, wood gasification and more.
Steven Harris is a consultant and expert in the field of energy. He is the founder and CEO of Knowledge Publications, the largest energy only publishing company in the USA.
Mr. Harris came to his current position to do full time work on the development and implementation of hydrogen, biomass and solar related energy systems after spending 10 years in the Aero-Thermal Dynamics department of the Scientific Labs of Chrysler Corporation.
Steve is always full of great ideas, knowledge and projects we can use to improve our personal energy independence and today is no exception.

Additional Resources for Today’s Show – Get info on all Steven’s Sites – This is for the small still, currently sold out.
The Three Book Deal Steven Put Together for TSP (remember MSB get an additional 15% off) -
Steve on Facebook -

“Revolution is You” by Gregg Yows

Members Support Brigade (MSB) -
TSP Gear Shop -
Join Our Forum -
Safecastle Royal -
Back Yard Food Production -

« Last Edit: July 14, 2013, 01:03:14 PM by Hootie »

Offline Hootie

  • Written Word Wrangler
  • Dedicated Contributor
  • ******
  • Posts: 1190
  • Karma: 43
  • Just another day gardening in the heat of texas
    • Frozen Gardener
« Reply #1 on: July 14, 2013, 01:03:31 PM »
<intro/housekeeping 0:00 – 5:22>

Jack Spirko: With that I got the house keeping wrapped up. I would like to again welcome back to the show for his 7th appearance, Steven Harris. Steven is an awesome guy. He worked at Chrysler for over 10 years on their hydrogen fuel projects. He is the author of several books. He has a great company with a tremendous amount of books, resources and material to lean about alternative energy. From bio-gas to solar and wind and more. If you want to know about it, Steve is the answer man. That is what he is here to talk to us about today. Hey Steven welcome back to The Survival Podcast.


Steven Harris: Jack, I am thrilled to be back. I am going to dish out the secrets. I am going to spill the beans on everything that works and everything that doesn't work. We are going to cover all the subjects.


Jack Spirko: Very very cool. This is your 5th appearance. You have been back more than anyone else.


Steven Harris: Sixth appearance. Number six.


Jack Spirko: You are right. Six... that is in your notes. <laughs> I guess you were noting you fifth appearance  was your last one.


Steven Harris: Yeah, my fifth appearance was my last one. We are going to talk about that and answer some questions. This is show number six.


Jack Spirko: Very very cool. Do you have some stuff from the last show that you wanted to chat about or that got left unsaid?


Steven Harris: You can get the last show at Jack's website, he has a whole page from me. It is also at I have all my shows listed and the details. The last show was on solar heat. I went over solar heat and how good solar heat was. Solar heat is real solar energy. It works just fabulous. You can get your return on investment in days, weeks, or months. We covered the subject so well, we didn't really get many questions on the subject. It is the first thing that I have here in my notes to talk about. Basically solar heat, go back and listen to the last show. I will keep this short, just go back and listen to the last show. I tell you how your can a solar heater, put it in your window, blow hot air into your house. You are heating with hot air and you store heat in water is the general rules of thumb. You can get started with free glass, a two by four, and old door, some black paint, and some muffin fans used for computers. You can slope the thing down from your window, put it in like an air conditioner, sunshine hits it, and blows free heat in. It works great in all different climates in the United States, except for Alaska. You will have a little difficulty there, being dark 24 hours a day for part of the time. I had a special for just Jack's TSP people last month, it was a sell out. Everyone just loved it. I didn't expect the number of sales that I got. It is for "Sunshine To Dollars," that is my famous book that tells you how to get free glass for doing solar heating. Tells you how to make solar ovens, two of them in there. One is a great big one that I made from an old freezer. I show you how to bake bread and to bake a cake in it. The other one is the complete handbook of "Solar Air Heating Systems." This is the one that tells you to professionally install solar heating into your house, as if you were a commercial builder. How to do it at that level, to do it to code, and to do it perfectly so it will last as long as the house. The other book is "Movable Insulation" which tells you how to put up and take down insulation. Basically let the sunshine in during the day time in the window and then put insulation up on the window at night to keep the heat in. The trio of books is awesome. It is only $49 dollars for all three books, that is a saving of $25. For all of you Membership Support Brigade people, join the MSB because your 15% discount applies to the $49 price so you can get it even cheaper.


Jack Spirko: That is awesome. I love that you do that when you run a special. I am sure might be some things where you can't do it because your stoves and stuff are really hard to discount. The fact that you do it when you can we appreciate that so thanks a lot for that. Folk again, you can get that at and I will absolutely make sure that is in the show notes as well.


Steven Harris Good. That kind of covers solar heat. Just go back and listen to show number five. It is the best thing you can do. There is one thing we have never covered in all of our shows, except for the fact that I don't like it.


Jack Spirko: That you hate it and that is photo voltaic, so we have really not ever talked about it. But we are going to talk about it today.


Steven Harris: Yes we are. Solar PV, I call it the worse thing that ever happen to solar energy. I work with large scale solar energy. I am in favor of, do research work, and development work on big dishes. 30 foot dishes that you point at the sun and they make 4000 degrees Fahrenheit. At 4000 degrees Fahrenheit you can take garbage and turn it into carbon and run steam through it. You can make hydrogen and carbon monoxide. Then you run that through a generator and that spins a turbine that spins a generator, which is made of copper. That make real three phase high voltage AC. That is real solar power. That is what the future of solar power is going to be. That is how mass solar power currently is, as opposed to these flat panels that everyone thinks is nirvana because they are flat and sexy looking. You put them out there and they produce electricity, but they produce DC electricity. We all run on AC electricity. In order to convert AC to DC what do you need? You need more electronics, which is more expenditure. You also need batteries to store it in, which is more expenditure right there. You can never really get your money out of solar photovoltaic because the crystalline solar panels  are grown with electricity. They do the vapor deposition of silicon, meaning they heat it up under a very high pure heat and turn it to a gas and then deposit it to make the pure silicon which is then doped and made into the solar photovoltaic panels that you put out into the sunshine. It takes a great deal and huge amount of electricity to make these solar cells. Basically what you are doing is you are making these solar cells in Japan with nuclear electricity then you are moving them over to the United States and then putting them into the sunshine and getting your electricity out. That are not a successful large scale form of electricity. In fact, they are the most expensive form of electricity you are going to get. It is like taking 20 years of your electricity bills and spending all the money all at once.


Jack Spirko: I want to explain some other things around that. If we go to a state with the highest possible insurance (electric?) rates because socialist stupidity like California. Then we get the best possible deal we can on the solar panel. Maybe we can shorten that payback time in money by something. The way I prefer to look at is we are supposedly doing this for creating energy. My view is if I took that same solar panel and used one 250 watt solar panel, high efficiency panel. Then said I am going to use energy from this panel and sort it in battery banks until I have any enough energy to build one more panel, that is going to take me about 30 years isn't it?


Steven Harris:  Yeah. Exactly.


Jack Spirko: That is the payback period I am really interested in. Not just money but how much energy produce to make the energy that goes in.


Steven Harris: Exactly. True. That doesn't even take into account that your battery is not last 30 years. Your battery is going to last 10 years, so you are replacing the battery. Let me put this straight forward to you. Solar photovoltaic, even though the prices have fallen and everything else. There is no reason in the world, even with any government credits and anything which is just theft of money from you and me, to do it for economic purposes. You are not going to put them up and make money. There is only one reason to use solar photovoltaic. That is for a signification portion of this audience and that is you want true energy independence. You want energy Independence from the grid. Solar photovoltaic can start you on that path to be completely energy independent, but it is going to be your most expensive electricity that you are going to buy. You are not going to save money, you are going to spend more money. You are going to have more maintenance, more time spent on things, and more tied to your house which isn't normally a bad thing. But you are going to be more energy independent. The grid can go down and you are still going to be surviving. You don't size the photovoltaic panels to your house. You don't say, "I got my refrigerator that I bought at Lowe's and I got my 3 ton air conditioning system so I am going to buy all these panels." No No, you size the house to the number of the photovoltaic panels you can buy. Even with $20,000 worth of panels you are still not running your central air conditioning system, let alone at night or 24 hours a day. When you buy solar photovoltaic panels you are generally using the special Sun Frost high efficiency refrigerator that uses a lot less power. You get a special high efficiency freezer. Of course you are switching all of your light to compact florescent and LED based. You are not leaving the TV on all the time. You are being real miserly with your power. For a dishwasher with electric heat in it, basically forget it. You are not running electric hot water heat either. You are doing something else for your how water, either natural gas or propane.


Jack Spirko: Probably gas or propane. You are right back to fossil fuels there.


Steven Harris: Verses solar, exactly. It can buy you a significant portion of energy independence. That can be very valuable to some of your listeners. I don't want to poop poop it.


Jack Spirko: I think what you are saying is OK. If I am going to build an Earthship in the middle of the New Mexico desert and it is going to cost me $80,000 to run infrastructure and to bring power. Or build something in Maine in the woods with a cabin where there is no infrastructure. Then it is the best thing for some portion of my energy needs.


Steven Harris: There is one thing more expensive than solar photovoltaic power and that is no electricity. <Jack laughs> That is even more expensive.


Jack Spirko: Remember the show "Little House on the Prairie?" Watch a couple episodes of that and you will see how valuable a solar panel is.


Steven Harris: Exactly. If you are going to do an off grid situation in the woods, solar photovoltaic is going to be one of the chief things you are going to be relying upon. You might put up a 80 foot tower for wind, which we will cover. Let's cover some of the economics of solar photovoltaic. The payback time is generally considered 30 years If you factor in labor, other cost, the inverter, and the battery life if you are using batteries. Which is the whole grid tied versus non-grid tied discussion. The only way you can store energy to be energy independent is with batteries. Your batteries are going to take up a lot of money and they have a lifespan, so you really won't get your money back. Lets look at some of the basics. Today is valentines day 2012 (Tuesday, February 14 2012). People could be listening to this to this thing in 2022, so we will give the date. A Sharp solar panel is running about $2.75 a watt. That is for the panel, not including shipping, mounting, mounts, labor, inverters, and batteries. If you go to some off brand panels right now you are looking at $1.99 a watt, which is a record low price. This is what China is doing. It is one of the reasons Solara went out of business, because China is making them cheaper than they are even with their government funding and out they go. They are about $1.99 or $2 a watt. That is $2 a watt per solar panel. If you get a 100 watt panel and you put it out in the sun shine, you don't get 100 watts for every hour of sunshine. There is something called means solar hours because the sun comes up in the east and goes down in the west. Is you panel tracking the sun? If you panel is tracking the sun. There is a great deal of expense right there having a tracker for all those solar panels, which is easily the price of the panels and more. If you got just a panel out there at a optimal angle facing south, you know there is 12 hours of sunlight in a good sunny day. You are getting maybe 5 or 6 mean solar hours, which means 5 or 6 hours equivalent of you panel putting out a 100 watts. There is that factor to consider in. Remember this is a $1.99 a watt. This is really $2,000 per kilowatt is what you are paying. What does a kilowatt cost us in the real world in the mid west or the east coast area? Remember i said $2,000 a kilowatt for solar panels. That same kilowatt is costing us $0.085. When you divide $2000 pre kilowatt hour into  $0.085 cents pre kilowatt hours cost. You are going to have to have 23,500 mean solar hours to get your money back. That is mean solar hours at maximum output, sunrises and sunsets and you are tracking the sun, to get the max out of your panel. 12 hours of sunlight, that is 6 mean solar hours, divide that by 6 and you get 4,000 days to get your money back at $0.085 that we are paying here in the mid west on a $2 a watt panel. That is basically eleven years just to get your money back on the panel. Not the mounting, labor, wiring, battery, or inverter. Your batteries won't last 10 years. That depends upon the chemistry of the battery, how the plates are formated, and how deeply you discharge the batteries. You can just take your lead acid battery all the way down to nothing and charge them back up and then all the way back down to nothing and then change them back up. Even if they are deep cycle batteries, it still hurts them to take them all the way down to nothing. The properly operating solar panels system, you take your batteries down to 50% and then charge them back up and them take them down to 50% and then charge them back up, so you get a lot more life out of your batteries. People don't realize this. If you need to have double your storage, you just have to double your batteries. That becomes a big expense and takes up a lot of space.


Jack Spirko: Now you know why Steve hates photovoltaic.


Steven Harris: Yes, but I am trying to bite my tongue and say there is applications for them. Especially with energy independence. That is why I am here.  That is why I want to give some of these details to your people. <phone rings> And I forgot to silence my phone. There, I have silenced my phone.


Jack Spirko: No big deal, man.


Steven Harris: Where was I in my notes... There you go, 11 years. As I was saying solar PV for power independence. It is not for economics. You don't size the solar panels to the house, you size the house to your solar panels. You get the high efficiency refrigerator and freezer. Here is where it becomes a little different situation. If you are in Hawaii, I looked up there average electrical costs and had friends in Hawaii send me their power bills. These are actual numbers. We are paying $0.085 here in the Midwest. California is paying $0.22 because of their socialist pricing for electricity. Hawaii is paying $0.45 and sometime more per kilowatt hour. You are looking at 4.5 to 5.5 times the price of what we are paying. Now we start factoring that in. Then you look a the Bahamas is about $0.38 per kilowatt hour. You are looking at a return on investment of about 3 years, so that is where the numbers start becoming interesting. Remember there is a price for living in paradise and that is it. In Hawaii their electricity is 2,000 miles from people.


Jack Spirko: It is also an island and that is a big part of issue.


Steven Harris: Yeah.


Jack Spirko: You have to get the power to the island and they can only generate so much power on the island.


Steven Harris: Right.


Jack Spirko: If they are going to build... I don't even know if they have the capacity to build any more energy production there, because of all the environmental protection. Which it is a place to protect but you are dealing with that situation. Even if you did have all of the facilities to produce more power, right on the island, then you also have to get fuel to the island. You have to ship the coal, oil, or nuclear material in and out. It is a very different situation when you are on an island verses a continent.


Steven Harris: Right, they are pretty much geothermal and diesel based in Hawaii. Most islands around the world have big diesel generators that generate electricity. They bring in diesel by the millions of gallons on tankers and barges. They put them into great big tank farms. Their price of electricity is directly tied to the price of diesel fuel. If you are on an island, like Fiji, Tahiti, or one of the many Pacific islands you have a big shipping cost on getting those solar panels to you as well. It is not just going to be the price of the panels. It is also going to be the price of the shipping, then your effort to put them up, and your limited resources there to put them up. It gives you an idea that when you are starting to look at energy independence and your cost of electricity, like you said, is going to be $0.45 to $0.50 a kilowatt hour. Or it is going to cost you $20,000 in poles for the electric company to put in poles and wire. Now you are looking at something that a return on investment on, only because your base price for electricity could begins with is so high.


Jack Spirko: It is very situationally dependent. In your estimation, because they can make far more efficient panels for far less money today than they could 25 years ago. I there a pathway ever, where photovoltaic through manufacturing improvement and efficiency improvements can ever work? Is this a stepping stone? Is it a stepping stone, but there is a shit load of stepping stones between here and Nirvana?


Steven Harris: That is an incredible and fabulous question. Not even one in 10,000 would have asked that question. There is one stepping stone for photovoltaic to become operational with return on investment. That is what is called concentrated photovoltaic. That is where you take a Fresnel lens and it has a surface area of one square foot and concentrate that one square foot of solar energy hitting the Fresnel lens down into about one square inch of photostatic. And it is not just sitting there, because photovoltaic like to start dying above a 150 degrees Fahrenheit. Here you are concentrating sunlight from 144 square inches down to 1 square inch, enough easily to make over a 1,000 degrees Fahrenheit, on to sensitive silicon electronics that don't want to get over a 150 (degrees Fahrenheit). What they have (to prevent this) is active cooling on the back end of them to take this heat away as fast as it can while still using the photons from the sunlight to generate electricity. I have seen concentrated photovoltaic. I have seen state of the art concentrated photovoltaic. The Arizona Public Service Company called APS ( The STAR facility in Phoenix, Arizona has some of the best concentrated solar photovoltaic research being done. There will become a time when this going to be economical. Again, concentrated solar photovoltaic... I have seen these great big flat panels that are 150 feet by 150 feet. They are gargantuan. They look like they are from NASA. They have to track the sun.


Jack Spirko:  Sure


Steven Harris: If you are doing concentrated (solar photovoltaic), you have to point it straight at the sun as it comes up in the east, follow it above to it's zenith, and all the way down to the west. You just can't put them out (there) <audio cuts out>....


Jack Spirko: That would be more of a mass production (thing). That is not be something you are going to install on a roof. You have dangers there, like setting houses on fire.


Steven Harris: No, no. I mean in a mass produced situation it would be very safe... The flame of your hot water heater in your house and in your furnace, is hotter than what this gets to.


Jack Spirko: Sure.


Steven Harris: It it pretty safe from that point of view. Again, it is a Fresnel lens. It is a expensive, multi-depth chip, solar photovoltaic chip, with an active cooling system. Which means water, pumps, fans, heat exchanger, and a tracking system. These be coming about some decade (later on) for a large solar farms. These will again compete with what I do, which is a large solar concentrator doing high temperature solar chemistry to make hydrogen that goes into a generator that spins a turbine that makes electricity indirectly. When you spin a copper generator, you make direct three-phase electricity. It is power matched and high voltage. Even with concentrated solar photovoltaic you are still looking at making DC current that needs to be converted to AC with silicon electronics. It still doesn't have a power factor matching that is worth a darn to it, which is beyond this discussion.


Jack Spirko: Sure.


Steven Harris: That was a really good question. There is one thing coming up if you really what to do solar PV cheap. There are people in companies selling solar photovoltaic kits. You have seen these advertisements on the net. "Man finds secret and brakes loose from the electric company." Blah blah blah. "Buy it before it gets shut down." <Jack laughs> It is just all hype and BS. All they are doing is taking surplus cells, which in many cases are sub cells or B-grade. They are junk. They have a chip on them. They are not quite as efficient. They weren't the right size.


Jack Spirko: Factory seconds.


Steven Harris: Factory seconds. They made to many of them, whatever. They are taking the cells that you would buy at Radio Shack... we used to buy single solar cells at Radio Shack at one time for experiments. They will sell you a conducting ribbon that you can solder to. They will also sell you some special silver solder. You can solder together your own solar panel. But then you also have to mount it behind glass or Plexiglas and blah blah blah... Very labor intensive. Remember we are going to come back to some of these numbers. I am going to blow you away with some of these numbers. I said $2 per watt for a low price solar panels right now. If you make your own, you can do this for less than a $1 a watt. If you take less then a $1 a watt and you are in Hawaii at $0.45 per kilowatt hour, then you are looking at a return on investment pretty decent. That is assuming you have the skill, the time, and the materials.


Jack Spirko: And you value your hours that you will spend doing this at Zero.


Steven Harris: That is right


Jack Spirko: It is a hobby for you and you need something to do with the time anyways. It doesn't really hurt anything.


Steven Harris: It is a lot of work. It is great learning experience. If something goes wrong with your panels, you will know how to fix them. I won't ever fault anyone doing an endeavor of labor like this because you learn a great deal of things. If you want to try it go for it. eBay is the best place to get them because there is so many people with so many competing different kits that the prices are pretty decent. I went and looked them up before I went on the show. They are going for less than a $1 a watt, somewhere between $0.60 and $0.70 per watt. That doesn't include the price of the Plexiglas or the glass that you need to use.


Jack Spirko: If they get your book, you tell them how to get glass for free.


Steven Harris: Yes, in "Sunshine to Dollars" is a great book. I show you have to get glass for free. I am going to tell you right here on Jack's show. I tell you how to go to your local window glass company and say, "Hey, instead of you putting glass into the dumpster. Can I take it for free?" I tell you how to approach them, how to ask them, what to say, and everything else. Most places say, "Yeah. Sure! Of course."


Jack Spirko: Sure, they don't have to pay the dumpster man to dump it that week.


Steven Harris: They don't have to pay the dumpster man and everything else. There are little secrets to it. When they call you, you got to be there. Be nice and bring them pizza.


Jack Spirko: Don't say, "I won't want all of that." You have to take it all too.


Steven Harris: Yeah, you got to take all of it too. Bring a  pizza, beer, doughnuts, or cookies. Be nice to to them and be there buddies. So they can call you and depend on you. That is all detailed in "Sunshine to Dollars." "Sunshine to Dollars" even tells you how to get free solar photovoltaic panels. I found places where you can get photovoltaic panels that have been damaged. They do nothing but through them into the Dumpster. They still operate at 1/3 and 1/2 of there original power. I got 85 of them in 2 years. I covered my entire garage with them. There is a picture of me in the advertisement for "Sunshine to Dollars" standing on top of my garage with 85 solar photovoltaic panels laid out.


Jack Spirko: If you want to get some return of investment. That is the way to do it. If you can scavenge the stuff for free. Then someone else already took the hit on it.


Steven Harris: Yeah, literally took the hit on it like in the book.


Jack Spirko: Yeah, I got the joke there. Lets move on to some other ways of producing energy. Lets talk a little bit about biogas. That was the first thing we had you on for.


Steven Harris: The first show you had me on was for biogas. This biogas is methane. It is anaerobic digestor. Anaerobic means without oxygen. Basically you take a great big tank, a great big jug, a great big container, a 55 gallon drum, 320 tote, or something and your through a bunch of manure into it. Then you can load it up with stick and twigs, leaves, and grass clippings if you want.


Jack Spirko: Or rotten fruit.


Steven Harris: Rotten fruit, dog poo, and small furry animals that you ran over on the road that you don't want to eat. You can through everything in there. What happens is when you close it up and you leave a vent hole, which is where your gas comes out. What happens is all the aerobic bacteria that is in the manure, air that we are breathing, and is in our bodies and small furry creatures. The aerobic bacterial take over and they start eating everything until all of the oxygen is out of the liquid slurry that is in there. Then the anaerobic, with out oxygen, take over because of all the oxygen eating bacteria died off because they ran out of oxygen. The anaerobes take over and they start digesting everything. What do the anaerobes do? They make methane. Methane is natural gas. It is flammable. It is a great wonderful fuel. You can run a generator directly off of this. You can run a Coleman mantle directly off of this. Infact I have a video on youtube, which I will put a link up to it on, that will say Coleman mantle running off of gas. I just hooked it up to a pipe and ran some gas to it and it lights up and you can see it. The system runs 24/7 if you feed it daily and take your fertilizer out. Or you can run it in a batch mode, where you load up a 55 gallon drum full of it. You wait about three days for it to start producing gas. They you can get gas out of it for about three weeks. They you empty it and start it over again or you run multiple batches.


Jack Spirko: Sure.


Steven Harris: It works really good. It produces a good, clean, and usable gas that is methane. You bi product is the most nitrogen rich fertilizers that you are going want. The waste surly, you til it into your garden and for your flowers. Jack, your show talks about greenhouses, growing, and square foot gardening.


Jack Spirko: If you are really enterprising, you might even make more than you can use and sell it to your neighbors.


Steven Harris: Absolutely. It works very good. The big problem with anaerobic digestion. It takes a lot of space. You are running 95% water to 5% dry matter because that is what it takes to make a slurry. If you take water and dirt and mix it up, to get a nice liquid consistency, that is what it is. It is 90% to 95% water and 5% dirt. The same thing will go with the leaves, sticks, and manure. You go a lot of water to make a slurry. And it needs to be kept warm. It really wants to be around 85 degrees Fahrenheit. If you are in a colder climate, you can insulate it but you need to insulate it really well which a bunch of insulation, straw, ground up cellulose insulation, or foam. It produces heat when it digests. Which is good because it keeps itself warm but you have to really insulate it. This is really more of a warm climate type of thing in the southern part of the United States. I forget, this show is world wide. Hello people in New Zealand, Australia, and Russia listening to this show. It is amazing Jack. Your show goes around the world. It is more of a warmer climate thing. It works really well. It just takes up a lot of space. You have to have a continual source of manure, grass, lawn clipping, and other things to feed into this. If you were at a gulf course or something, you would have a continual source of material to feed into this and you might have the space.


Jack Spirko: Or if you kept cattle and horses. You go to do something with all the manure


Steven Harris: Or if you kept horse, goats, and chickens. Those are all fabulous sources. Remember for every 18 degrees Fahrenheit you increase in temperature or decrease in temperature you will double of half your bacteria activities. If you go from 70 degrees to 88 degrees Fahrenheit in temperature you will double you bacteria activity. It will digest twice as quick by going up 18 degrees Fahrenheit. You go up another 18 (degrees Fahrenheit) and it will double again. That is why if you get cold, like getting it down to  70 or 65 or 60, it is really going to slow down. Which will give you a lower output over a longer period of time. But then you need more of it to keep a usable amount of gas. This can be demonstrated in a little as a 5 gallon container for a science fair. I have had girl in Arizona that won first place in the high school science fair. She did this with two 5 gallon containers and dog poop and lawn clippings. She made the gas and ran it to a mantel and just wowed everyone. It can be done in as small as a 5 gallon containers, It is better done in a 55 gallon drum with a 30 gallon up ended into it. You take the 55 gallon drum and fill it up with the mixture. Then you put a 30 gallon drum upside down into it. What happens is as gas is produced it push the 30 gallon drum up. You have your hose connected at the end of the 30 gallon. The weight of the drum makes the pressure that you will need and that forces it out of the hose. If you need a more pressure you just put a brick on top of it.


Jack Spirko: Yeah.


Steven Harris: I have a book that shows how to do this, step by step. It is called "Biogas: Volumes 1 & 2." I will have it on the show notes on I also have a book called "Biogas 3: How the Chineese Make Biogas." This is how the Chinese do it. They do it in ground. They dig a pit and then they line with will bricks with cement and mortar, or with some type of line paste. You put a partition into it. You also have an inlet and an outlet so you can dump in 20 gallons of manure and compost a day on one side. You get 20 gallons of fertilizer being kicked out on the other side. This is a continuous plan. It will sit there and continuously make bio gas. This is book is called, "Biogas 3: How the Chineese Make Biogas." It will be in the show notes. In 1970 they had 40,000,000 of these in the country. They were really big. They were starting to make there own energy then and there are even more so now.


Jack Spirko: Of all the technologies you talk about this one of the most usable in my mind because you do not have to be technically smart how to do this. the inputs you need are widely available. For myself it solves two problems. One, it supplies energy. Whether is heat, light, or like you said you can run a generator with this stuff if you want to. The other thing it does is solves a waste issue. It takes a waste that would go to a landfill and turns it into fertility


Steven Harris: It gives you a fertilizer too.


Jack Spirko: Everybody that is out there composting could literally be doing this instead, instead of doing an aerobic compost like we traditionally do with our compost pile. You would do an anaerobic compost you would get a significantly less output as far as fertilizer, but very nitrogen dense fertilizer and very organic fertilizer as long as your inputs organic. If you are getting Roundup soaked gain that you are throwing in there, obviously you have that issue. Assuming you have good inputs you get great output. You get the heat energy as well. You could run 2 of your tank systems in a greenhouse and use it to heat the greenhouse through a winter.


Steven Harris: No. It wouldn't do it.


Jack Spirko: It depends where you are at, Steve. For you in Chicago probably not. For me, when I need supplemental heat for 40 days out of the year over night. I can do that easy, I would think.


Steven Harris: Right. A system that would provide a usable amount of power to a house in terms of heat, light, and generator power, you are looking at about 1000 gallon cistern. It is in "Biogas 3: How the Chineese Make Biogas."


Jack Spirko: Maybe 3 to 4 IBC totes done in a rotational pattern? You could do that as well.


Steven Harris: Absolutely. You can get a 300 gallon chemical tote for under $100 easily.


Jack Spirko: That is a lot less than a solar panel.


Steven Harris: Yeah, a lot less than a solar panel. You might have to be feeding this 50 to 100 pounds of material a day. That is a general rule of thumb. "Biogas: Volumes 1 & 2," "Biogas 3: How the Chineese Make Biogas," and I also have the "HandBook of Home Made Power" available on my website. That covers biogas really well. That will be at There you go, there is the ins and outs of biogas.


Jack Spirko: Before we move on to gasification one quick thing i want to add. In your notes you noted that, the smaller the material is that goes into tank the better. The Urban Farming Guys that are in Saint Louis, they get all of this throw way fruit that they use to make there biogas. All they did was go to Home Depot, and they got it at cost because because they told them what they are doing and they put them at YouTube. They just bought a garbage disposal. They plug the disposal into the electrical outlet, put the disposal on the top of the tank, and they shove the stuff in there, and when they are done they remove it and rinse it out. They put it away and do it again the next time they get more stuff.


Steven Harris: That is the way to do it.

« Last Edit: August 31, 2013, 07:02:02 AM by Hootie »

Offline Hootie

  • Written Word Wrangler
  • Dedicated Contributor
  • ******
  • Posts: 1190
  • Karma: 43
  • Just another day gardening in the heat of texas
    • Frozen Gardener
« Reply #2 on: August 31, 2013, 07:02:37 AM »

Jack Spirko: That is so easy. Garage disposal doesn't have to go under your sink. <Steven laughs> Anyone can use one, even me. Actually I can't because I have a septic tank, so don't do that. Lets move on the gasification.


Steven Harris: Gasification, this is the real make to energy from waste material that you can get: walnut shells, wood, stick, bark and wood chips. It is all great. It likes to be hunky stuff like from a wood chip in jaw breaker in size to a golf ball in size, or maybe a little larger like half a baseball in size. It needs to be solid hunky material. It works good with coal. It works good with chopped up wood as well. This is what the first engines in the world ran on. It was gas from a gasifier. This is what was called town gas, city gas, blue gas, or light gas. You had a gas plant in your town, and it was using wood or coal or combination there for, to do gasification. It was making a gas that was dominated carbon monoxide and hydrogen. Carbon monoxide is a great fuel but don't breath it. It is poisonous. This works so well that 1,000,000 vehicles ran on it during World War II. If you saw those big honky things in the front and back of vehicles during World War II in the old pictures, those were gasifiers. They would put in anything from charcoal to wood hunks and everything else. They would light it and start it up. They would drive there car to and from town. You might have some reduced horsepower on it, so you would have to switch over to gasoline to drive up a hill. Then going down a hill and on flat land you run it on the gasifier. Really we covered this in another show. We covered gasification in pretty good detail. We went over gasification in the first show. The one that we had on biogas so I won't go over over the whole thing here. Basically, this is the way to make fuel with what you can pick up off the ground. You can pickup sticks and twigs and logs, and use a chainsaw. You can use waste from lumber mills and everything else. This relies on a process called partial oxidation. When you burn something in a camp fire that is full oxidation, your wood and coal and throw some gasoline on it. All of that burns completely carbon dioxide and water vapor. Everything burns into carbon dioxide and water vapor that has a carbon molecule into it. That is called full combustion. In partial oxidation what you are doing is starving the unit of enough oxygen to do full combustion. You get incomplete combustion. Thus you get carbon monoxide of full and hydrogen as a by-product along with the nitrogen that was in the air that went into it, so the fuel is a little bit diluted. This what kills you inside your house from carbon monoxide poisoning, like when your furnace goes bad and you don't have full combustion and you have partial combustion going on. You get a CO leak and that will poison you in your house. The same thing with running a barque in your house. You are not getting full combustion, you are getting partial combustion and that is why it is producing carbon monoxide and it is poisonous. When you take this partial oxidation method and you put it into a container, contain it, control the air flow in, and amount of gas out you get a very usable fuel. It works very well. You can run a car or generator on it. You can compress it and you can store it. There have been great advancements made on it. I have the best collection of box in the world on the subject. I have 10 books on the subject, "Hydrogen Generator Gas for Vehicles and Engines." That would be volumes 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, and 6. All the way up to the encyclopedia on the subject, which is 2 volumes, this is volume 10. The best thing for me to say is if you want to start doing this, I will put a link on, then the best book to start with is "Hydrogen Generator Gas for Vehicles and Engines: Volumes 3 and 4." This is what is called the FEMA Gasifier. It is a very proven design. With the other volume I have with it tells you all about the chemistry and the how and why it works. You can go to YouTube and type in "FEMA Gasifier" and you will find a bunch of people that made FEMA Gasifier and running engines off of them. They run them off of all sorts of fuel, it works very well. What else is in my notes. I cover the different temperature and different zones in the book. The book has exploded diagrams in it, parts list, step by step of everything you need do to do it hands on. It is all photographs and paint by numbers for you to make your own FEMA Gasifier. You make it from a 55 gallon drum, garbage can, stainless steel salad bowl colander that you dill holes into and a piece of furnace pipe. It is really not rocket science at all, it works really well. You can hook up a generator to it. It will suck the air right through it, turn it into a gas, and run it to the generator. The book shows you how to setup some valves to modulate the gas and air into the generator so it runs. You will see it in the videos of them running on YouTube. That is the short story on the gasifier what we have already covered in another show. Here is the key thing. If you don't what to do this, if you want to buy one as a kit and you what to put it together. Or if you wanted to buy it all assembled. Or if you want to buy it on a pallet shipped to you. Or if you want to buy it on a pallet assembled with little computer control system on it and a generator hooked up to it on the pallet on a 40 inch by 48 inch pallet shipped to you and dropped off to your house or your farm or island. All you would have to do is put in the feed material into it. There is a 10 kilowatt and 20 kilowatt one. There is one place in the entire world to get one. I will put the links at for this in case you don't get what I am telling you. I have not part in this, I get no money off of this, this is just the greatest unit made in the world. It is called the "GEK Gasifier". It is from is from (correction It is run by a man called Jim Mason. He is the guru in the world on this subject. He is in Berkeley California. It is an opensource project. You can download all the plans and schematics and everything else. You can even input the numbers into your own water jet or laser table and start cutting metal and welding one up right now. They hold seminars and classed on this. I believe it is every three months. It is hands on, you make them, you can buy one from him, and you can see one running. During the class they put their "power pallet," is what it is called. They put it online on a video camera for all three days, running 25/7 so you can see the thing operational. They are the only people in the world with the confidence and quality in the unit to actually let it run and do it on live video. They have taken this thing around the world, to the Philippines and Sri Lanka. They have been all around the world and the United States, making and selling these unit. They are pretty much non profit. The way that they do it. They are not a big for profit company. It is a work of passion, but they do make money on it. A 10 kilowatt unit, on a pallet everything ready to go and assembled generator, just turn the thing on coast about $17,000. A 20 kilowatt unit will coat about $26,000. Let's put this into perspective. You are going "Oh my God! $26,000 for a 20 kilowatt unit!"


Jack Spirko: That is the same person dreaming about putting a $35,000 photovoltaic system on their house some day.


Steven Harris: Exactly. Let's put this into perspective. We are talking about 20 kilowatts of electric output. Which really means he 35 to 40 kilowatt generator because it is derated by the gas, because the gas has less density than other fuels. Plus, it has atmospheric nitrogen. We are talking about 20 kilowatt output here. This is real 20 kilowatt of electric output. Your average house uses between 1 to 1.5 kilowatts on average. $26,000 for 20 kilowatts is like buying a solar panel at $1.30 a watt. What did I just tell you solar panels are price at? $2.00 a watt, not including shipping and all the other parts. This (GEK Gasifier) is including everything and it is a $1.30 a watt. This works 24 hours a day. It works when there are clouds, it works in the dark, it works in the rain, it works in the sunshine, and it works when there is not mean solar hour. If you wanted a kilowatt of solar panels and you wanted a kilowatt of output from those panels all the time. You would have to have about 5 times, 5 kilowatts of solar panels, and storing of that power in batteries. This is because of the sun rising, sunset, cloudy, and night time. You have to store all that energy. That $2 per watt just went to $10 per watt, because you have something called day, night, and clouds. $26,000 for a 20 kilowatt unit is really a bargain. No house would need more than a 10 kilowatt unit, which is only $17,000. This is really...


Jack Spirko: In some states if you bought that 20 kilowatt you could be selling power back to the grid with it.


Steven Harris: You could, that is if you were in a state that allowed the metering. Do they have net metering? Do they allow you to put back more electricity than you produce, than you actually use? Some places only let you put back enough electricity that you actually used in the house. It is called...


Jack Spirko: In this case I wouldn't need any at all.


Steven Harris: It is called storing on the grid. There are lots of places... There are someplace with socialist government programs where they are stealing your money, from you and me, to give to people at highly inflated rates. Where they are pay them $0.10 a kilowatt hour to put electricity onto the grid. Those places are few and far between. You might find them in California. Again it is not a money maker. It might be in a few locations, but really it is a power Independence thing. The only problem with it is, it is like a gremlin. You got to feed it. Unlike a gremlin day and night.


Jack Spirko: You do have to feed it after midnight, instead of not feeding it. My question is, if I want to run that 10 kilowatt unit and I want to run the average household with it what is going to be my fuel requirement, in tons per month?


Steven Harris: Oh god...The rule thumb is for a car vehicle is if you were driving on it, it is about a pound per mile.


Jack Spirko: Ok.


Steven Harris: I would have look it up, but we are probably looking at several 100 pounds per day at maximum output. For a 10 kilowatt this is where we run it like we are a submarine. You get yourself a battery bank and a good inverter for your entire house. You are a submarine on the surface of the ocean, you are running full out. You start up your generator and you run 10 kilowatts and you charge up all your batteries and then you turn it off. They you run off of your batteries. You go under water, you run silent and run deep. You run off your batteries for the rest of the day. In the morning you want to run your well motor, you want to run your microwave, and you want to run your refrigerator and freezer nice and hard. What you do is you start up the unit, run the 10 kilowatt unit at full output for a couple of hours. Run everything thing in the house, get your morning stuff done, charge up your battery banks, and then turn it off. The battery banks for the rest of the day will run your television, run your refrigerator on and off, and it will run your lights at night. If 10 or 20 kilowatt unit was really running 24/7, you would be powering a small village.


Jack Spirko: Sure.


Steven Harris: For a homestead you would be doing it on and off with a battery bank.


Jack Spirko: That is what I was going to ask you next was the battery bank. You answered my question as though you are an intuitive individual.


Steven Harris: Yeah. I am an intuitive individual. Plus you and I have Skype and we can send text messages back and forth to each other, and read each others minds.


Jack Spirko: <laughs> To be fair we are not doing that right now.


Steven Harris: I know.


Jack Spirko: We have done it before. We have cheated before. Anyways, that is really cool stuff. I think it is a bigger investment, but like most things it is a bigger payback as well. Most of the stuff that you need to burn you can get to next to nothing or for nothing. If it wood and it is chunky, like you said you can throw it in there. With a few exceptions, anything you get your hands on will work. I just had on Dave from and He gets tremendous amounts of sweat gum from a company that furniture and baskets out of sweet gum. He is using it for mulch. It might not be the most high output stuff, and it might not be the most optimal, but if it is free for all you can take... There are probably places where you can get even better material for nothing.


Steven Harris: True. Remember a good wood chipper, if you are a tree service or something. A good wood chipper would cost you as much as this unit would itself. Then again, if you have friends that are in the tree service business, they are cutting down trees, and they got a chipper. Most of these places are looking for places to dump there mulch. The gun range I go to they allow tree service places to come in and dump there mulch for nothing, because we using it for bedding for the gun ranges and for the sides. It is a waste resource. Depending on where you live, not sure in Arizona there is many...


Jack Spirko: <laughs> Yeah. <inaudible>


Steven Harris: Depending on where you live down there in Arkansas you get plenty of trees.


Jack Spirko: The guys from the state are out chipping stuff every day just to keep the growth back from the power line.


Steven Harris: Exactly.


Jack Spirko: There is a tremendous surplus of it. Here most that stuff ending up at the city compost facility. I have talked to those guys down there. If you want to go to the piles where it is chips waiting to go into the compost, you can go there and take that too.


Steven Harris:  Yeah.


Jack Spirko: They don't care. They got plenty of carbon so they are fine with it.


Steven Harris: The world opens up when you ask.


Jack Spirko: Yeah


Steven Harris: When you ask the world opens up. The worst they can say is no. They might just say, "Yeah. Sure. Backup."


Jack Spirko: Yeah


Steven Harris: Get your shovel and load it up, and away you go.


Jack Spirko: That kind of takes care of wood gasification. Moving on, I have made very high proof ethanol alcohol using your still. You can light it and it burns a nice pretty flame. There is the whole alcohol can be a gas thing when we look at ethanol. There is a tremendous free source for energy production there as well.


Steven Harris: I have personally made ethanol one of the simplest things for you to do for home energy. It was a lot harder before I came out with the latest ethanol still. Traditionally you have to baby sit the still. You have to watch the head temperature, what impurities are coming out, adjust the temperature, and make sure you didn't run out... blah blah blah. I found this little moonshine still. Literally it is a moonshine still. It looks like a coffee pot. It is kind of the size of a coffee maker. You put in a gallon of wash, which is fermented sugar or doughnut or whatever you want, and you put a timer on it. I go to Walmart and get a $8 wall timer. I plug it in and run it for 3.5 hours. It runs for 3.5 hours and it makes its first distillation of alcohol. I do this 5 times. I take that all that alcohol and re-distill it again for 2.5 hours and re-distill it again for about 1 hour. I distill it 4 times and I end up getting 180 proof ethanol. This is about as high as it gets. The key thing with ethanol... again we have a whole show on this. Go to Look for the whole show on ethanol. You will get all the details. It will point you to the website called I was selling a still and everything but as of right now Feb 14 (2012) I am sold out. You have to sign up for the waiting list. If you sign up for the waiting list, I will let you know as soon as the still is out. It is the cheapest still on the market. It is about $230 including shipping inside the USA. It is the slickest little thing in the world. You look at things on the internet and they got columns 6 feet high or 3 feet high, big pots, milk cans, and beer kegs. I got them all. I got big columns. I got all those things. I have done it. This is the slickest easiest little thing world. Jack has one and he has done it. It works fabulous, just trust me. If you want to see how to make ethanol, how to ferment the sugar, and how to make it in this little still. I got a 20 minute video that plays for free when you land on Just go watch it. It will tell you everything you need to know. Do it with me, do it without me. However you want to do it. The knowledge is there for free. The thing about ethanol is once you get 95%... remember proof is twice of the percent. Vodka is 80 proof, which is 40% ethanol. 100 proof ethanol is 50%. 200 proof is 100% pure. You have to be at 95% pure or 190 proof, to mix it with gasoline. If you are at that percentage or better you can mix it 50/50 with gasoline and you can pour it right in your car right now. Right in your gasoline car, as long as it is a 1983 or newer, and you can drive on it. What I am telling you is, with this little table top still for about $200 you can make half of your fuel for your car that you drive in right now with no modifications to the vehicle. I go over this in detail in the other show. Go and listen to it. The thing is you start the first batch with sugar and bread yeast. Yeast that you put into your bread maker. Yeast you make bread with. This converts sugar into alcohol and carbon dioxide gas. The CO2 bubbles out and leaves behind the ethanol. This is how you make moonshine. This is how you make alcohol. Buying sugar from Walmart is a little expensive way to do it. It is great for your first batch because I have done it. You have gone through all the steps. You have fermented, you have distilled, you go "Yeah I under stand this. I can do this, no problem." Then you try to get cheap sugar. I had one of my customers turn me on to one of these things called, you preppers will love this, "Salvage Grocery Stores." Go google a "Salvage Grocery Store." Have you hear of these places, Jack?


Jack Spirko: I actually had not until i got your outline.


Steven Harris: They sell things at liquidation cheap. I had one of my customers who bought the still send me photographs of 1,900 pounds of sugar <jack laughs> that he got for a $114 at a salvage grocery store.


Jack Spirko:  Wow.


Steven Harris: That is enough sugar to make 155 gallons of 200 proof alcohol. With electricity to run the still and everything we are talking about, he has made over 155 gallons of his own fuel for less than $2 a gallon that he mixes with gasoline and he drives on. You can do it with sugar cheap if you go to a salvage grocery store or get it surplus. To make it really cheap you got to use starch. What is starch? Starch is doughnuts. Starch is bread. Starch is flour. Starch is pastries. Starch all the carbs you are going to eat.


Jack Spirko:  If it makes you fat it probably has carbs in it.


Steven Harris: That's right. If you live near an apple or pear farm, you can get a fruit press and press all that juice. You can fremet that and you can make alcohol. Or you can use starch. To use starch you use the 6 steph starch conversion process that is documented in step by step in the world famous book, "Alcohol Can Be A Gas." Listen to the last show. Jack drops the book on the desk and it is a thump. The book weighs over 4 pounds, it has 660 pages, it is the bible on making alcohol. It shows you how to convert the starch into sugar. Then you ferment the sugar and you make the alcohol. You do this from... One day old doughnuts they sell to you at half price.  Two day old doughnuts they throw away. The world open ups when you ask. Go ask for them. They will give them to you. Corn Flakes that are swept off the floor from a corn flakes factory. There are lots of places that make stuff like this. Pastry droppings from a bakery. Stuff that falls on the floor. Corn that is surplus or has a fungus in it that is no good for animal feed. All of this starch can be converted to sugar by heating it up and then you add barley malt. If you want to know about this, ask any beer brewer like Jack. He will tell you how easy it is to brew beer. It is just as easy and even easy to use barley or barley malt to convert your starches into your sugars to fremet.


Jack Spirko: If you are making fuel for your car out of it, there are things that you don't worry about as far as taste and hazz and all that other crap.


Steven Harris: Did I use the right yeast and hops? You don't have worry about all that stuff. You don't care because you are just distilling the alcohol.


Jack Spirko: In fact now that you say that, compared to beer you are you are skipping an entire step. If I make beer will a full mash I have to do the mash and they we have what we call the true brewing processes where I am adding hops and I am brewing it. I am trying to extract out the acids. I am not even going to do that, if I am doing this. That whole hour and a half boil just never even happens.


Steven Harris: You don't even need to use barley. You can by what is called alpha amylase and glucoamylase, which are commercially available enzymes available on the internet. You add those. You heat up the mixture. Get it to about 190 (degree Fahrenheit) and add the alpha amylase. Which is the same enzyme as in your spit. Then you cool it down to about 140 (degree Fahrenheit) and added the glucoamylase, mix it up, add some iodine, and see if it turns purple. If it does or doesn't that tells you if all your starches are converted over. Then you cool it down, ferment it, and then distill it. In order to get to the highest purification you have to add what is called "Zeolite" to it. We talked about this in the last show in detail, so i will only mention it here. I am the only person in the world with a video that shows you how to mix Zeolite with your alcohol that has some water in it to get the rest of the water out of it, so you can be above 95% and mix it will gasoline. links from I sell the the Zeolite. I sell the video. I sell all the step by step safety instructions and everything else. Ethanol works. Ethanol can work for you, but again it is just like the gasifier and it is just like the biogas. If you got the waist source material to make the ethanol out of or to work in the biodigestor or to work in the gasifier. If you got that source of material then you are all set. You can do it.


Jack Spirko: Absolutely, I think that is the key. Can you get material and do you want to do the work? The one thing I love about your still, Steve, is that it takes a lot of the work out. It doesn't make a huge amount but if you buy a little timer for it , usually at Walmart for $8 to $10, you really don't have to do anything. If you had a couple of them sitting there, you could make a significant amount of fuel over a year. Even without doing the starch conversion and all of that, if you can get 1,900 pounds of sugar for whatever your buddy paid about $100, you can make it profitably with that. You just need a place to put 1,900 pounds of sugar, because that is a couple truckloads.


Steven Harris: No it is not. It was a pretty small amount.


Jack Spirko: Really?


Steven Harris: It was basicly a enough to cover the bed of your pickup truck, not even slid off.


Jack Spirko: I am just thinking of a 5 pound bag sugar. And I need 10 of them to make 50 pounds. And I need 20 of them to make 100 pounds.


Steven Harris: Think of a 50 pound of sugar and then getting 38 of them.


Jack Spirko: Sure, that is right.


Steven Harris: That would be a layer on the bed of your pickup truck


Jack Spirko: It is funny whenever we go to Sam's Club or Costco's we walk by the baking section where they have those 1,500 pound bags of sugar. I just look at that and go "Owww, fuel" <laughs>


Steven Harris: <laughs> Yeah. It is true. Expensive fuel but true. Let's move along again, I got a whole show alcohol and I got a whole Q&A show on alcohol. It is at It is in Jack's show notes. It is on the Steve Harris page of Jack's website. You got all the notes, go back and listen to it. Lets go on to water.


Jack Spirko: Ok


Steven Harris: This is as in water falling over a cliff. There is no such thing as in water fuel. Water is never going to power a damn thing, except for your farts.


Jack Spirko: <laughs> You mean I can't that $99 product on ebay and stick it on my car and pour water in there and make my car run.


Steven Harris: No! Never ever! Not in any shape or form ever. Not even in your imagination.


Jack Spirko: As Paul Wheaton would say, "No, that is just marketing." <laughs>


Steven Harris: Yeah, that is just marketing. Sucker... Water, as in falling water. Let's say you have a place with a river, a creek, or a lake that is spilling over. You can put in a micro turbine. If you have a small damn, something with a 6 or 8 or 10 foot head. A head is how high the water is. This is awesome it is very economical  It runs 24/7. The payback is in single digit year. It runs all the time. A small unit will make a kilowatt of power without even thinking about it. It is the best thing you are going to get as a prepper for a continuous power source that you don't have to feed it anything. You don't have the feed the baby. You don't have to feed the gremlin. You don't have to ferment anything. This is the number one thing you could possibly have, is a source of falling water. The thing is, the number of location in the world where you can get a good little micro turbine damn going is very limited. But it is not to be overlooked. Of course if you are on a small creek with your own damn, you are possibly in a flood zone as well.


Jack Spirko: Sure


Steven Harris: That could be good or bad for being a prepper. I just wanted to cover everything falling water is great. The thing closely related to falling water is wind energy. We have not talked about wind energy. Wind is not frigging magic bullet either. It is the same as water. It is a limited area where where there is good wind that will get you return on investment. Most wind it considered to have a return on investment in 15 years. Those big turbines that they put up.


Jack Spirko: Yep.


Steven Harris: With maintenance and everything they are hoping to get there money back in 15 years or less. A very good wind situation on your farm or at your house, a very good area will be pay back in 7 years or less. An awesome wind return on investment will be 2 years and that is awesome awesome wind. National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL). I will have a link at to their wind charts. There is something called the different classes of wind. We go from class 3 which is week to class 7 which is like "Oh my god superb." You can look in the country and see where you are. There is this huge wind corridor going from northern Texas all the way up to North Dakota and Montana, where there is really good wind. Then there are some good places in Pennsylvania. Some good places like in California where they have the wind farms. On the coast, east and west coast and the gulf coast, you generally have good winds coming off of the oceans depending on the time of year. The western side of the great lakes there is good wind. Keep in mind, these wind ratings are at 50 meters, which is 150 feet, above the ground. It is very common to have a wind generator up at a 80 foot tower minimum. Or an 80 foot pole with a bunch of guide wires. Even if you are running a 400 watt or 800 watt or a 1000 watt wind generator, it is very common for the thing to be up 80 feet or more. The good news is the wind generator, not including the tower and the labor of putting it up, it is about a $1 a watt or less. That is the good news on wind, but if you are going to want to store it you are going to have to put it into batteries. There is money for buying the batteries and power independence. It is more for power independence than it is for making money. You are not going to be making money on this. It is going to be more of a power independence thing.


Jack Spirko: I can't stress too much where the place you live impacts whether or not this makes sense to do this. When i lived in north Texas, especially when I bought a boat and wanted to go fishing and I have to pay attention to the wind for that. Because you get too much chop and it is dangerous to be out there. It amazed me how much the wind actually blows in Dallas and in Fort Worth. I don't think Chicago should be the windy city. Think Dallas or Fort Worth should. When we moved up here to Arkansa and gotten used to paying attention to how much wind blew. It amazed me how infrequently the wind blows here. I am up at about 1100 feet elevation in the mountains. If there is ever wind I get it. It is almost nonexistent for severely long portions of the year other than when we get a storm.


Steven Harris: Yep.

Jack Spirko: Through the summer you get a little breeze in the evening but it isn't going to turn a turbine. Even a small one.


Steven Harris: Nope


Jack Spirko: It doesn't even make sense. I always thought when I move up here I would put a few little alternative energy thing. If nothing else just for the experience. I wouldn't even waste my time putting one up on my roof if somebody gave it to me for where I am at. There is just no point.


Steven Harris: Most wind generators are not going to be on your roof. They are going to be 80 feet in the air. You are talking about some real estate for some guide wires and everything else. I am going through my show notes, Jack. I think I am going to request to come back for a seventh show because we are over an hour right now.


Jack Spirko: Yep


Steven Harris: I have not even covered additives for your gas tanks and how they are BS. I was going to cover diesel engines with waste vegetable, oil straight, and biodiesel. I was going to cover natural gas for cars and natural gas for generators, which is going to be a huge interest for your people. You want energy independence that last through a disaster, natural gas on a generator is it. I didn't cover propane in vehicles yet. I have a whole section here to cover here on hydrogen, hydrogen power, hydrogen in vehicles, and the best way to get hydrogen. I was going to cover fuel cells and what is happening with fuel cells and what is coming up. I have not even covered this. It is a whole other hour worth of material. Why don't we cut things here and say thank you to everyone. You guys are awesome. Everything I spoke about is going to be a I got special deals on my books. The 3 solar books for $49. That is $49, for anyone listening the MSB people. Join the Membership Support Brigade. You are going to get your money back really quickly, let alone on top of the $49 books I just gave you. Links to the past shows will be at Let's do show number 7.


Jack Spirko: Absolutely.


Steven Harris: I will cover all this fabulous stuff. I got lots of juicy details and good things to give you about everything I mentioned from natural gas to propane to waste vegetable oil, all the hands on stuff that you can do yourself.


Jack Spirko: Alright. We will definitely set up a time with you to have you back on. I would just like to say thanks for being here again. Of all the guest I bring on there is a reason you have been on more than just about anybody else. That is because you bring real information. You really know what you are talking about. I appreciate how freely you share the information with the audience, Steve


Steven Harris: I love your audience. They just make you want to give to them because they do things. I get thank you notes. People write to you and write to me. They say they have done this and send me pictures. We just go wow. This is what we are doing and this is what we are doing it for. I am just like, "Fine I will give you more."


Jack Spirko: i think the reason for that is... It is probably wrong that I even refer to them the audience. The reality is that we have here is a community.


Steven Harris:  Yeah.


Jack Spirko: It is a survival podcasts community. It is a pretty amazing group of people. I know they appreciate you. On their behalf thanks for being with us again. We will get you on just as quickly as we can work you back into the schedule.


Steven Harris: Ok Jack, see you.


Jack Spirko: With that folks this has been Jack Spirko today, along with Steven Harris. Helping you to figure out how to live that better life if times get tough, or even if they don't

<closing song>
« Last Edit: September 15, 2013, 10:15:26 AM by Hootie »